Flexible Electric Field Imaging Array Blanket

Project: Research project

Project Details


The possibility exists to combine electric field sensing and large area flexible electronics to build an electric field imaging array that non-intrusively inspects the electronic state of circuits. Such arrays would be very useful in the security industry for inspection of suspect packages including improvised explosive devices, and would also be useful in the construction industry for investigation of wiring/studs within walls. Electric field imaging arrays could also be used to identify people passing through an entryway. Human intrusion might be detected distinctly from blowing dust or animals by the characteristic swinging of arms which would show up as an oscillation in spatial dielectric constant. Electric field measurement has been significantly advanced recently at the Army Research Laboratory [8,9,12,13] and other companies [6,7]. However apart from scanning a point probe over an object [3-5], the ability to image electric fields does not currently exist. Preliminary measurements by the author while on sabbatical at the Army Research Lab indicate that time varying electric fields down to a very small 1V/m can be detected with miniature lock-in amplifiers constructed from inexpensive commercial components. Based on these measurements and mathematical modeling, 60Hz power lines can be resolved or imaged with an electric field sensing array at a distance of 1cm with 2cm wire spacing (Fig. 8, p.13). Additionally, clock wires on a PC motherboard at 166MHz can be imaged at this distance and spacing (Fig. 9, p.14). The goal of this proposal is to demonstrate that electric field imaging is possible and to determine what resolution is achievable at what distance as a function of pixel size and wire voltage/frequency. At the end of this 1.5 yr. project, we will demonstrate the worlds first electric field imaging blanket with a 4 diagonal array capturing the spatial electrical activity of circuitry. The drive and read electronics will be integrated with the flexible array similar to our prior flexible x-ray radiography panels with the image displayed on a laptop (Fig. 2, p.6). The additional funding requested here and extended duration compared to the pre-proposal is to deliver the 4 diagonal demonstrator complete with integrated drive/read electronics. The final demonstrator development is gated at the end of year 1. If the experiments on small test arrays are not promising, there is no need for the additional expenditures.
Effective start/end date9/1/142/29/16


  • DOD-ARMY: Army Research Laboratory (ARL): $112,000.00

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